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January 28, 2013

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Better quality of life for city's residents in 2013

Shanghai targets an economic growth rate of 7.5 percent this year, the same as the country's goal, and the city's actual growth, in 2012. But it should be "with better quality," Yang Xiong, Shanghai's acting mayor, said yesterday.

By achieving a stable economic performance, Shanghai will accelerate industrial restructuring, further raise incomes and enhance efforts to combat pollution to make a better city and give its residents a better life, Yang said in a speech on government work at the opening of the annual session of the Shanghai People's Congress.

The city aims to double economic output and residents' incomes by 2020 from the level in 2010, and complete the construction of a global center of finance, shipping and trade by 2020.

"Shanghai should realize a thorough transformation in its growth model, expanding the output of the service sector to account for up to 65 percent of its economy by 2020," Yang told more than 800 legislators.

Shanghai is aiming for faster growth in people's incomes than the expansion of its gross domestic product, and will keep its Consumer Price Index in line with the nation's inflation target, which is not yet known.

Last year, Shanghai's economy grew 7.5 percent from a year earlier to 2.01 trillion yuan (US$319 billion), creating 4 percent of China's overall economic output with only 0.06 percent of its land, 1.8 percent of its population and 1.7 percent of its investment.

For the first time, the service sector accounted for 60 percent of the city's overall economic output last year.

Shanghai's urban residents continued to lead other provinces and cities in disposable income on the Chinese mainland with an average of 40,188 yuan last year, albeit offset by higher living costs, faster inflation and slower economic growth.

"Shanghai should not ignore or dodge the problems that we have when moving forward," Yang said, giving "more constraints on resources and environment, rising business costs, fewer new economic growth points and still weak innovation capabilities" as examples.

Yang said Shanghai would invest the equivalent of 3 percent of economic output in environmental protection through 2020, further lower emissions of carbon dioxide, and speed up the elimination of high energy-consuming and polluting projects.

Yang also said: "The city should become more active in opening itself up to fit in the fast changing global business environment. It should concentrate more on key industries, key projects and key regions to enhance its overall economic competitiveness."

These included services and advanced manufacturing, Disneyland and the Hongqiao Business Park.

Yang said that the city would improve the educational system, better protect intellectual property rights and invest more in indigenous innovation to raise the city's innovative capability.

Other plans include more participation by foreign investment, more studies on how to ease traffic congestion, increasing the number of skilled workers and further integrating urban and rural development, he said.

Shanghai's 2013 goals

* Annual GDP growth of 7.5 percent

* Investment in R&D to be 3 percent of the city's GDP

* Investment in environmental protection to be 3 percent of the GDP

* Elimination of 500 high energy consuming and polluting projects

* New greenland of 1,000 hectares and forests of 800 hectares

* About 105,000 units of affordable housing

* Registered unemployment within 4.5 percent

* More than 500,000 new jobs

* Raising the proportion of highly skilled professionals to 28 percent of the city's workforce


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